Saturday, Part Two (Part One was published yesterday)
My ultimate destination yesterday was the back of the farm and one of my favorite geldings, Kudos. As I parked the golf cart at the top of the hill, I called his name and he threw his head up and came right over. Fat and sassy, Kudos got his share of the attention, especially since not one of his pasture mates came over. Bonapaw stood a little way off and glared at me out of the corner of his eye. I’m not sure if he thought I was going to try to catch him, if he was jealous, or if he just likes to glare! Across the way, Regal Sanction pawed at the fence until I went over to see him. Siphonizer has his own paddock, because the minute he goes into a paddock with buddies we can’t catch him for anything. Alone, he is a friendly, nice horse. But give Siphonizer a gang to lead and his alter ego shows up. Doppelganger Siphonizer is half wild and impossible to catch. The difference is amazing.
The other horse I specifically drove up the hill to see was Cozy Miss. Cozy is the elder of the mare group, and she is probably the most shy. But Hidden Lake has appointed herself as Cozy’s protector, making sure neither of the other mares interrupted Cozy’s attention. You’d think it is because Hidden Lake wants the attention herself, but that’s not it at all. It’s just hard to believe that a horse can be smart enough to understand that her friend needs someone to stand for her. Hidden Lake stood a few feet away from us, keeping one eye kindly on Cozy and one glaring at the other mares, going so far as to chase them off if they got too close. Because of her age, Cozy’s coat remains longer and shaggier than the younger horses. But she is soft as silk. I could have patted her all day just because she feels like the plushest of teddy bears. And there are not enough treats to thank Hidden Lake for her kindness to an old mare.
On my very first visit to Old Friends, before I was a volunteer tour guide, Kiri’s Clown decided he liked me. On the days when I have time to visit him by myself, he reminds me why we fell for each other in the first place. Kiri loves to rub his face on me. And lick my arm, tug on my shirt, knock my hat off, nuzzle my hair and otherwise treat me like another horse. In return, I scratch his back, pull knots out of his mane, rub his nose, and tell him he is more handsome and faster than Awad. Seems like a fair trade.
Our other new horse is a gelding named Bonfante. He is a slender bay horse with a crooked white blaze that kind of meanders off the left side of his face. I heard when he arrived he had no interest in showing off—he took a look around his paddock, dropped his head and started to graze. I think, sometimes, the sigh of relief from some of the horses when they arrive at Old Friends is just as clear as day. Bonfante, who has already been re-named Jack, came right over when he saw me, but he wasn’t too sure how to behave once he got to the fence. He wanted to be friendly but he was a little intimidated by Kiri across the way, and since he didn’t know me he accepted a pat on the nose and left it at that. He’ll settle in, and in no time he’ll be fat and happy. And speaking of fat and happy, I did not recognize Falcon Scott this week. His trim athlete’s body has blossomed. He sure grew a chubby belly in a hurry.
After Sunshine sniffed and snorted to see what other horses I had been patting, I stopped by Marquetry’s paddock to say hello. Marq was another example of how different horses are without a carrot bucket in hand. Oh, Marq is still kind and gentle, no change there. But without carrots to munch, he preferred to chew on me. Now, as you know, Marq has no front teeth, top or bottom. Chewing on me was actually all about lipping and slobbering all over my hand, my arm and my shirt. He had some fun chewing on me—he was as gentle as can be, but boy, can he slobber!
I guess I got a little carried away this week—horses only, no people stories. Still, the horses are the best part of Old Friends, the reason the farm exists, and the lure that keeps us all coming back. We hope you can visit us soon. In the meantime, thanks for sharing this weekend with Old Friends!